The Youth Employment Minister visited Dundee & Angus College today (Tuesday) to see for herself the opportunities for students going into the science and technologies industry.
D&A College targets sectors with skills shortages and works with major employers to design programmes in the energy sector, including micro-renewables and oil services. The new courses are boosting students’ prospects and the college has seen impressive results, with 100 per cent of those studying biofuels going onto further study, training or work.
The college is addressing skills shortages in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors, including the creative and digital industries. It provides tailored programmes to meet industry need and introduce students to the array of careers in these specialist industries.
Ms Ewing said: “The ICT and digital skills industries are worth around £4.5 billion annually to our economy, with more than 84,000 people employed in jobs connected to it in 2014 alone. This poses incredible opportunities for students and D&A College has been among the first to use this knowledge to create better opportunities for its graduates and build links with the sector.
“If we are to meet the need for an additional 11,000 new entrants every year and keep the workforce level with the demand, we are going to need innovative approaches like the work here at D&A College. I am keen to hear about the incredible success these new programmes for the STEM sectors are having. I am also looking forward to discussing how the college is improving the gender balance in these courses and continuing to see the number of graduates coming from our most disadvantaged communities grow to almost 10 per cent above the national average.”
The Minister met Sandra Cormack and Razwana Yousaf, who have launched start-up businesses from the college’s £1.6 million Enterprise Incubator. There they have access to support, networking and facilities for the first year.
Ms Cormack is a make-up artist who works with bridal parties as well as on commercial and editorial photographic shoots, film, theatre, television and the music industry. She launched her company SC Makeup Artistry in 2009.
Ms Yousaf started Shaadi Baji Ltd. as a modern, international introduction service for single Muslims using the Incubator for support.
D&A College Principal Grant Ritchie said: “Staff at D&A College understand our primary task is to ensure the right skills are available to help companies in our region compete effectively and flourish. To achieve this we talk to employers about how to fill skills gaps and we make sure that programmes are adjusted accordingly.
“Skills in energy and engineering along with digital skills are critical in ensuring our young people are resourceful and independent and are prepared for the modern workplace.
“We are also aware of the need to encourage enterprise and contribute to the growing numbers of new businesses in our area. Our enterprise facility has been a real success and we look forward to helping develop many new companies in future.”